by Anika Rahman
Originally published: August 7, 2017
Diversity and inclusion are facing unprecedented political attacks. The Trump Era represents a backlash against both our first African-American president and the prospect of a female president. Indeed, many progressives view fear of the “other”—people of color, women, immigrants, Muslim and LGBTQI individuals—as the primary unifying principle of Trump’s supporters. Economic concerns and vague notions of limited government alone cannot account for our election results. Yet the reality is that there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the U.S. by 2050. We also know that there will be increasing recognition of the fluidity of gender and sexual identity. Fortunately, our multifaceted resistance is aware of these future trends. Our nation has turned to non-profits as essential leaders in this struggle to defend cherished values, particularly diversity.
Given this renewed political momentum to supporting diversity, what are non-profits themselves actually doing? As an immigrant woman of color who is also a Muslim, I have found my professional journey as a leader in this sector to be a complex one. I have often been in the position of being a “first”—first brown woman, first immigrant, first Muslim—in several different contexts. Even though I now take these experiences for granted, I understand that this is not what our community seeks.